Reviews of Chongwe River Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A camp of two halves
There is no doubt that the accommodation we had in the Cassia suite was superb, way beyond luxury though given the price we thought that we might have been given more choice for example on the food. There was no choice of menu. This is not to say that what we had was poor, the opposite in fact, it was excellent but we had what we were given.
Whilst the inital welcome was warm it was not very informative for example about what choices we had on activities other than we knew we could not have a dedicated vehicle which we had not expected anyway.
Joseph our butler was such a lovely man who could not do enough to make our stay a happy one. Never having had a butler before we almost felt guilty in asking him to do things for us.
The view of the river was beautiful though when the Hippo start calling just after three in the morning you may wish for a room futher up the Chongwe river. In its brochure the camp prides itself on organising things round you not the needs of the camp. In fact we found the opposite. In part this was a factor of being in the self contained Cassia suite at the opposite end of the camp to the general dining area. This meant we did hear about what was going on. Communication, particularly about activities, was not good. The issues were raised with Florence (Flossie) and she did respond as best she could given the circumstances. This was meant to be the highlight of the holiday for us but apart from the accommodation, it fell short of the expectations.
We had some wonderful Lion sightings of three males but apart from this the volume of wildlife was low with several "very quiet" drives. The park itself is very varied and has some really beautiful habitat. Guest should be prepared though for a 20 min or so very bumpy ride up into the park as it is on the opposite side of the chongwe river to the camp.
Chongwe River Camp was wonderful
This was an amazing place to stay. The staff and accomodations were excellent. It was in a very safari location to get the real Africa feeling.
We very much enjoyed this part of our trip.
Chongwe River Camp review
We absolutely loved our stay at Chongwe and cannot fault it in any way - all of the staff go out of they way to make sure that you have everything to make your stay enjoyable and you are made to feel so welcome that you really start to feel like part of the family.
All of the activities were excellent and the guides were very knowledgeable. There are also a good number of choices of activities from canoeing to fishing to walking safaris and game drives so you will never be bored. You are also very much in charge of your own itinerary and the staff will do all they can to make sure that you do whatever activity you fancy on a particular day.
I must also mention the food as this particularly good - the best we had on our 3 week holiday. I would recommend Chongwe without any hesitation.
Chongwe River Camp review
Although the setting is wonderful, game is not found in great numbers and game drives can be frustrating. In fact you can see most game on offer by sitting outside your tent. Night times are exciting with large elephants, hippos and sometimes lions walking past your tent.
We found just sitting by water waiting for game to come to drink and watching birds more rewarding than driving for hours around the bush. Elephants were seen in numbers and of course are never boring.
There are many activities on offer but even so I would not recommend staying longer than three nights at this camp.
Chongwe River Camp review
A wonderful second part of the holiday after spending time in South Luangwa.
Loved the opportunities to be out on the water and the camp was very flexible and seemed to manage to accomodate all the guests' requests for the different activies.
Really enjoyed the daytrip into the park and the tigerfish fishing!
We asked if we could have a table for two on our last night (since this was also the last night of our holiday) and they were more than happy to oblige and provided a lovely romantic dinner by the pool, complete with floating candles!
Memorable experience at Chongwe River Camp
Chongwe River Camp is in a delightful location, absolutely fabulous area. We had some very memorable experiences in the camp with the Elephants that came through every afternoon and at night to eat the fruits that fall from the trees in camp, some fantastic photo opportunities. Our guide Patrick was also very knowledgeable, particularly with the birds and good at tracking lion. We had some lovely encounters with Lions in the early morning. Also the variety of birds were fabulous.
We saw far more animals around the camp than in the National Park and were disappointed in the game seen within the park boundaries.
Our accomodation and service received by Debbie, Cariline, Neil, and all the staff was really great. Unfortunately Chris went down with a tummy bug which lasted through to our next camp (Tena Tena). We can't be sure but suspect it must have been caused by something consumed at Chongwe as the Doctor seen by Chris at Tena Tena said it would have been caused by something she ingested. Note I only mark down the Food below because of this occurence.
lovely camp in beautiful setting.
the camp and surrounding area were superb. we had elephants in camp each day, so close you could almost touch them. great photo's taken from my bed!!
water excursions excellent. unfortunately the park where we spent most time on the drived was almost devoid of game for the whole of our visit.
patrick was am excellent guide and the camp staff were also great.
Chongwe River Camp review
An idyllic setting at the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambesi rivers.
Excellent rooms with a very high standard of service.
Food very good with nice wine.
We really enjoyed the fishing for both tigerfish (biggest 8lbs) and bream. The tigers are catch and release. We did enjoy eating the bream as bar snacks...very tasty. On our last day, another guest in our boat hooked a huge Vundu catfish which he landed after 30 minutes or so. Not able to weigh but estimated at 80-100 lbs. It was 5 feet long with a head the size of a large shovel. Davey the guide wa svery helpful
We also enjoyed the canoe trip on the Zambesi.
We were somewhat disappointed by the game viewing although we only did one long drive.
For us, this is a place to end your trip and relax on the river.
Chongwe River Camp, fishing discovered!
When they say animals in the camp, they mean in your space! To the point of feeling unsafe. Hippos separated us from the bathroom at night and elephants came into the sitting room. It is a large spread out camp and the nightwatchmen always seemed a long way away!
We stayed in the Albida suite which was great to have family time having spent previous 10 days eating communally. Edward looked after us very well and was an invaluable help. However it did cause problems as we did not seem to get information on trips and activities or to know the staff as well as we had in other places. We definately felt we were slotted into activities that the guides were organising rather than those we were interested in. eg. We wanted to go canoeing but ended up bird watching whilst the guide paddled. Communication between guests, managers and guides seemed problematic.
Discovering river fishing was a highlight of our stay at Chongwe. David's quiet, patient and gentle manner whilst teaching us to fish was inspirational. My youngest daughter and husband are now converts.
One of my daughters had previously picked up a stomach bug and was very ill during our stay at Chongwe. Debbie, the manager, couldn't have been more helpful.